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Blog should be the focus of your social media campaign
Full length blogging vs. micro-blogging
Pretty much every company with any some sort of online presence is now on Facebook and Twitter, pumping out micro-blogs by the day (if not minute). Obviously these platforms are fantastic for building a community around your brand, and allow you to make pithy little comments on your industry that may establish you as someone ‘in the know’ within your niche, but character limits alone place strict boundaries on how much you can really get your message across. Similarly, your presence on these platforms can seem oddly disparate.
Establishing a blog isn’t so much blog vs. micro-blog as establishing a hub to create a mutually supportive internal network between your various social media channels.
Setting out your stall
If the gold standard of social media is establishing you as an authority within your niche, and creating a community around that authority, then a blog is a considerable step towards those goals.
As Topshop in the UK have clearly realised, a proper blog gives you the opportunity to really set out your stall in a way Facebook and Twitter don’t. In the same way that publishing a proper book makes you more authoritative in the eyes of the public than a couple of newspaper columns, in the short-format internet a regularly updated, insightful blog means much more than a stream of witty tweets.
Not only that, but amidst the chatter, it gives you somewhere to routinely link back to, that reinforces your brand and provides a larger space for people to get into your world – there’s more content on a blog than a Facebook page, which means more time engaging with your brand, which makes users more likely to buy into your brand.
Taking it on home
Although Topshop have got the idea with their content strategy, where they fall short is in their funnelling.
The blog’s design is closely related to the Topshop website, although the correlation could be stronger. It gives the impression of a web design agency’s rush job of recreating the original site in WordPress, rather than properly integrating it.
Similarly, placing it on a subdomain rather than as a page in its own right is a missed opportunity for visitors to organically navigate their way to products straight from the blog, rather than having to be directed towards them in the posts themselves. Tighter integration is a clear way to practice a soft sell approach alongside the harder sell of the ecommerce site.
If their blog were more tightly integrated, when linking to it from Facebook and Twitter, they would also be directing people to the main site without actively pushing a product.
I’ve taken Topshop as a good example of a company blog, because they advertise it in their shops as well as pointing to it from their social media profiles. They use it not only to show off their products but to establish a more informal character to the brand – it’s clearly a key part of their overall marketing strategy, and provides a hub around which the rest of their online activity can orbit.
At the same time, it still has room for improvement, and lessons for the rest of us can be learned from these mistakes.